After Miami Herald reporter Jaweed Kaleem incorrectly identified me rather than Pamela Geller as the head of SIOA in the original version of this article, I corrected the record here. Kaleem was kind enough to send me this note this morning:
Robert: my mistake in incorrectly identifying you in the article. I'll get that fixed online. FYI the decision to remove the ads was a last-minute one; I did not know of it when I interviewed you via email.
I responded with this:
Thanks. I appreciate the correction. Why didn't you mention CAIR's unindicted co-conspirator status, links to Hamas, and terror convictions of its officials in your article? Why didn't you mention the many apostates from Islam who have been murdered or threatened with death around the world in recent years, or the fact that all the sects of Islam and schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that apostates from Islam should be killed? I would be happy to supply you with data on these or other matters for a follow-up article. Let me know -- I'd be happy to help.
And Jaweed Kaleem answered:
The answer to most of your questions is that my articles usually have a local focus. I have written about the South Florida chapter of CAIR for a few years now and have never seen or heard them advocate terrorism. I don't write about the national CAIR organization. Re: the apostasy issue, I have heard of many of these incidents in abroad, but have heard of few in the U.S. and none in South Florida. Sure, I'll take a look at your data. If you can provide me with a former Muslim in South Florida who has been threatened for leaving the religion and who would have appreciated the help of the ad, I can look into a follow-up interview.
Well, unfortunately, in South Florida Muslims read the same Qur'an and follow the same Sharia that other Muslims read and follow in other parts of the world. They may not, for any number of reasons, live it out in the same way, but there is no South Florida Islam that is distinguished from Islam in other parts of the world by any significant doctrinal difference. Nor is there any coherent reason to believe that CAIR-South Florida differs in any substantial way from CAIR national. Accordingly, the information I provide here for Jaweed Kaleem is not restricted to South Florida -- but it holds true there as well. And I decided to do this publicly rather than in a further email, since the information here may be useful to others besides Jaweed Kaleem.
First, re CAIR: CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case -- so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror, and that CAIR's cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Honest Ibe Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements.
And regarding apostasy, Kaleem quotes CAIR's Muhammad Malik saying this: "Islam guarantees freedom to and freedom from religion....[We] reject as un-Islamic any extremist interpretation that sanctions the killing of any individual because she decided to 'leave Islam.'"
So evidently Muhammad Malik and CAIR reject as "un-Islamic" these words of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam and supreme example of conduct for the Muslim (cf. Qur'an 33:21): "Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him." (Bukhari 9.84.57)
Evidently Muhammad Malik and CAIR reject as "un-Islamic" the Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and thoroughly mainstream exegesis of the Qur'an. About Qur'an 2:217, Qurtubi says this: "Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group say that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent."
Evidently Muhammad Malik and CAIR reject as "un-Islamic" the teachings of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, since they all teach that a sane adult male who leaves Islam must be killed. They have some disagreements about what must he done with other types of people who leave Islam, but they have no disagreement on that.
Evidently Muhammad Malik and CAIR reject as "un-Islamic" the internationally renowned Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has been praised as a "reformist" by pseudo-academic John Esposito and who has said this about Islamic apostasy law: "That is why the Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed."
Meanwhile, although it's just dandy that "Islam guarantees freedom to and freedom from religion," Muslims all over the world seem to misunderstand Islam on this point. There are many killings of apostates and threats to their lives that take place frequently in the Islamic world.
Click on every word -- each one is a story about an apostate being murdered or threatened with death. Now, isn't that odd? Why did all these Muslims misunderstand Islam's protection of religious freedom? Why are so many Muslims misunderstanding Islam in just the same way?
But none of this was fit to print in the Miami Herald. I think it almost certain that Jaweed Kaleem didn't even ask Muhammad Malik any hard questions. Maybe he will get another chance as our lawsuit runs its course.